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ODROID 'Hacker Board'

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Hardware
  • ODROID Rolling Out New Intel-Powered Single Board Computer After Trying With Ryzen

    While ODROID is most known for their various ARM single board computers (SBCs), some of which offer impressive specs, they have dabbled in x86 SBCs and on Friday announced the Intel-powered ODROID-H2.

    In the announcement they mentioned as well they were exploring an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U powered SBC computer, which offered fast performance but the price ended up being prohibitive. After the falling out with Ryzen over those cost concerns, they decided to go ahead with an Intel Geminilake SoC. Geminilake is slower than their proposed Ryzen board, but the price was reasonable and it ends up still being much faster than ODROID's earlier Apollolake SBC.

  • Odroid-H2 is world’s first Gemini Lake hacker board

    Hardkernel unveiled the Odroid-H2, the first hacker board with an Intel Gemini Lake SoC. The Ubuntu 18.10 driven SBC ships with 2x SATA 3.0, 2x GbE, HDMI and DP, 4x USB, and an M.2 slot for NVMe.

    When the Odroid-H2 goes on sale in November at a price that will be “higher than $100,” Hardkernel will join a small group of vendors that have launched a community backed x86-based SBC. This first open spec hacker board built around Intel’s new Gemini Lake SoC — and one of the first Gemini Lake SBCs of any kind — follows earlier Arm-based Odroid winners such as the Odroid-C2 Raspberry Pi pseudo clone and the octa-core Odroid-XU4.

Jetson TX2, Gemini Lake, and Kaby Lake based mini-PCs run Linux

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Hardware

Cirrus7 unveiled an “AI-Box TX2” mini-PC with a Jetson TX2 module and -20 to 70°C support. The company also offers four, similarly Linux-friendly Kaby Lake-based mini-PCs and a new Gemini Lake model.

Cirrus7 is a German manufacturer of Intel Core based mini-PCs that are available barebone or with pre-installed Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or Windows. Now the company has stepped into the Arm world with a mini-PC based on Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 module.

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Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

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Hardware
OSS

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming.

The Makerphone is a pretty sweet-looking gadget, and it comes ready to be programmed with Scratch and python, providing a good progression from a fully graphic programming environment to a command-line language that's still beginner-friendly.

$94 gets you a kit and the tools to assemble it; $99 gets you an assembled phone. The project's runners have previously delivered on kickstarted open source hardware kits, which bodes well for getting something for your money.

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Hacker friendly LapPi laptop kit runs on Raspberry Pi 3B+

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

SB Components is Kickstartering a Raspberry Pi based “LapPi” laptop kit with 7- or 5-inch screens, keyboard, camera, speakers, and 3800mAh battery, starting at $220 with an RPi 3B+ or $178 without.

SB Components has successfully funded its DIY LapPi kit on Kickstarter, and packages are available through Nov. 10 with December delivery. The company is known for its PiTalk smartphone and other Raspberry Pi add-on kits, which are available as options.

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Linux Devices: ARM/Linux in Servers and Embedded, Chromecast

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Linux
Hardware

Linux-driven embedded PCs target autonomous cars

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Linux
Hardware

Kontron announced two Ubuntu-driven computers for autonomous vehicles. The S2000 is a lab dev platform with a Xeon 8160T and the EvoTRAC S1901 offers a choice of Kontron modules including a new Atom C3000 based, Type 7 COMe-bDV7R.

Kontron has launched a Kontron’s S2000 Development Platform for developing autonomous in-vehicle computers and is prepping an EvoTRAC S1901 in-vehicle PC for use in advanced automotive applications, including autonomous vehicles. Both systems ship with Intel processors running a pre-installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Linux stack. The systems follow earlier Kontron automotive computers such as the EvoTrac G102 in-vehicle cellular gateway.

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Single-board computer guide updated: Free software is winning on ARM!

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

In many geeky circles, single-board computers are popular machines. SBCs come in small form factors and generally run GNU/Linux, but unfortunately, many boards like the popular Raspberry Pi are dependent on proprietary software to use. The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of system-on-chip families, sorted by their freedom status.

Unfortunately, this list had not been updated in several years. While it was accurate when it was published, free software is constantly improving. Today, more and more boards are usable with free software. On the graphical side, the Etnaviv project has reached maturity, and the Panfrost project, with which I have been personally involved, has sprung up. The video processing unit on Allwinner chips has been reverse-engineered and liberated by the linux-sunxi community in tandem with Bootlin. Rockchip boards have become viable competitors to their better known counterparts. Even the Raspberry Pi has had a proof-of-concept free firmware replacement developed. Free software is winning on ARM.

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Raspbian Linux distribution updated, but with one unexpected omission

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Those last two are the ones that really produced some excitement in the Raspberry Pi community. Just look at that next to last one... so innocent looking... but then go and look at the discussion in the Pi Forums about it.

For those who might not be familiar with it, Mathematica (and the Wolfram language) is a technical computing system that is very widely used in both education and industry. It has been included on the Raspberry Pi since the beginning, and when you consider that a normal "desktop" license costs €160 for a "student", or €345 for "home and hobby", it's an exceptionally good deal to get it for free with a $35 Raspberry Pi. That makes it a bit easier to understand why some users would be upset about it being removed.

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Open-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking

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Hardware
OSS
Security

Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose?

It might seem unexpected, but as an engineering professor, I’d pick the second option. The first one might be safe – but I simply don’t know. I’d have to take the company’s word for it. Maybe it’s a reputable company with a longstanding pedigree of quality, but I’d be betting my information’s security on the company upholding its traditions. By contrast, I can judge the security of the second safe for myself – or ask an expert to evaluate it. I’ll be better informed about how secure my safe is, and therefore more confident that my document is safe inside it. That’s the value of open-source technology.

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Linux Devices: ARM and La Frite

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Linux
Hardware
  • Arm brings Intel, Arduino, myDevices into the Pelion IoT platform ecosystem

    Arm on Monday is announcing a series of new partnerships that will enhance Pelion, its Internet of Things platform, making it easier for customers to deploy and manage a wider range of IoT devices on the platform.

    First, the Peltion Platform can now be used to manage Intel Architecture (x86) platforms, in addition to Arm-based IoT devices and gateways. Next, Arm is partnering with myDevices to make it easier to quickly onboard a wider array of devices. Additionally, Arduino is partnering with Pelion Connectivity Management to enable developers to quickly create and scale cellular IoT designs.

  • ARM expands Pelion IoT platform to Intel, Linux ecosystems

    In addition, the company announced Mbed Linux OS, which builds on its Mbed OS for IoT devices based on Cortex-A. Mbed Linux OS is integrated with the Pelion IoT Platform and is designed to open up new classes of IoT devices with complex applications, such as those processing video or edge gateways. Developers can sign-up now for early access to the new software.

  • Raspberry Pi A+-sized $10 La Frite Linux board has better specs at half the price

    The La Frite board is a follow up to Libre Computing's $25 Le Potato board and is "loosely based" on the design of the Raspberry Pi A+ -- a smaller and cheaper Pi than the $35 Raspberry Pi B+ -- due to the 40-pin GPIO header setup.

    It's currently available to backers on the device's Kickstarter page and will be generally available in November.

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Graphics: XRGEARS and Arcan's Latest

  • XRGEARS: Infamous "Gears" Now On VR Headsets With OpenHMD, Vulkan
    Well, the virtual reality (VR) demo scene is now complete with having glxgears-inspired gears and Utah teapot rendering on VR head mounted displays with the new XRGEARS. Kidding aside about the gears and teapot, XRGEARS is a nifty new open-source project with real value by Collabora developer Lubosz Sarnecki. XRGEARS is a standalone VR demo application built using the OpenHMD initiative for tracking and Vulkan for rendering. XRGEARS supports both Wayland and X11 environments or even running off KMS itself. This code also makes use of VK_EXT_direct_mode_display with DRM leasing.
  • Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity
    This is the first article out of three in a series where I will go through what I consider to be the relevant Xorg feature set, and compare it, point by point, to how the corresponding solution or category works in Arcan. This article will solely focus on the Display Server set of features and how they relate to Xorg features, The second article will cover the features that are currently missing (e.g. network transparency) when they have been accounted for. The third article will cover the features that are already present in Arcan (and there are quite a few of those) but does not exist in Xorg.
  • Arcan Display Server Is Nearing Feature Parity With The X.Org Server
    The Arcan display server, which started off years ago sounding like a novelty with being a display server built off a game engine in part and other interesting features, is nearing feature parity with the X.Org Server. While most hobbyist display server projects have failed, Arcan has continued advancing and with an interesting feature set. Recently they have even been working on a virtual reality desktop and an interesting desktop in general. Arcan is getting close to being able to offering the same functionality as a traditional X.Org Server. If you are interested in a lengthy technical read about the differences between Arcan and X.Org, the Arcan developers themselves did some comparing and contrasting when it comes to the display support, windowing, input, font management, synchronization, and other areas.

CoC/Systemd Supremacy Over Linux Kernel

  • New Linux Code of Conduct Revisions: CoC Committee Added Plus Interpretation & Mediator
    The Linux Code of Conduct introduced last month that ended up being quite contentious will see some revisions just ahead of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel release. Greg Kroah-Hartman has outlined the planned changes as well as a new Code of Conduct Interpretation document. In the weeks since the Linux kernel CoC was merged, various patches were proposed but none merged yet. It turns out Greg KH was working in private with various kernel maintainers/developers on addressing their feedback and trying to come up with solutions to the contentious issues in private.
  • Some kernel code-of-conduct refinements
    Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted a series of patches making some changes around the newly adopted code of conduct. In particular, it adds a new document describing how the code is to be interpreted in the kernel community.
  • Systemd Adds Feature To Fallback Automatically To Older Kernels On Failure
    Systemd's latest feature is the concept of "boot counting" that will track kernel boot attempts and failures as part of an automatic boot assessment. Ultimately this is to provide automatic fallback to older kernels should a newer kernel be consistently failing. The feature was crafted over the past few months by Lennart Poettering himself to provide a way when making use of systemd-boot on UEFI systems it can automatically fallback to an older kernel if a newer kernel is consistently causing problems. This is treated as an add-on to the Boot Loader Specification. The systemd boot assessment is designed that it could also be used by non-UEFI systems and other boot platforms.

ODROID 'Hacker Board'

  • ODROID Rolling Out New Intel-Powered Single Board Computer After Trying With Ryzen
    While ODROID is most known for their various ARM single board computers (SBCs), some of which offer impressive specs, they have dabbled in x86 SBCs and on Friday announced the Intel-powered ODROID-H2. In the announcement they mentioned as well they were exploring an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U powered SBC computer, which offered fast performance but the price ended up being prohibitive. After the falling out with Ryzen over those cost concerns, they decided to go ahead with an Intel Geminilake SoC. Geminilake is slower than their proposed Ryzen board, but the price was reasonable and it ends up still being much faster than ODROID's earlier Apollolake SBC.
  • Odroid-H2 is world’s first Gemini Lake hacker board
    Hardkernel unveiled the Odroid-H2, the first hacker board with an Intel Gemini Lake SoC. The Ubuntu 18.10 driven SBC ships with 2x SATA 3.0, 2x GbE, HDMI and DP, 4x USB, and an M.2 slot for NVMe. When the Odroid-H2 goes on sale in November at a price that will be “higher than $100,” Hardkernel will join a small group of vendors that have launched a community backed x86-based SBC. This first open spec hacker board built around Intel’s new Gemini Lake SoC — and one of the first Gemini Lake SBCs of any kind — follows earlier Arm-based Odroid winners such as the Odroid-C2 Raspberry Pi pseudo clone and the octa-core Odroid-XU4.